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VOA Journalist Tells Story of Kurdish Syrians Through Art

Voice of America Kurdish Service multimedia journalist Lukman Ahmad broadcasts to Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Iran each week, but he is also known across VOA as a talented artist. Lukman, who came to the United States as a refugee from Syria in 2010, joined VOA in March 2014 and pursues his artistic passions in his free time.

“Because information is heavily restricted in Syria, I see my art as a way of getting information out, similar to my work each day at VOA,” said Lukman. He views painting as a source of hope and a way of sharing Kurdish history and culture with the world.

Lukman was born in a small Kurdish town in Syria, began drawing at age nine, and immediately fell in love with art. Today his art, which comingles different Kurdish religious and cultural symbols with Christian imagery, reflects his childhood in a community shared by both groups.

Lukman Ahmad speaking at VOA
Lukman Ahmad speaking at VOA

​Lukman recently completed a panorama depicting the impact of war in Kobani, Syria. It features an image of his sister, who was accused of being a spy and arrested in Syria for providing medical treatment to men and not wearing a hijab. The painting also includes images of Kurdish fighters and refugees, and a young boy holding a peace sign and a sunflower, a Kurdish symbol of hope.

Along with other artists, Lukman will be exhibiting his artwork at an upcoming event at Freedom House.

All images by Bill Workinger of VOA’s English-to-Africa